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Only one-half ( 50%) of B2B marketers formally measure the return of their online marketing investments, but those that do say online is more effective than traditional marketing channels, according to a report by AMR International.

Budget size is closely correlated to the amount of measurement conducted by B2B companies. For example, only 24% of B2B marketers with annual budgets lower than $25,000 formally analyze metrics, compared with 85% with budgets larger than $2 million.

Below, other findings from AMR's report titled B2B Online Marketing in the US: Assessment and Forecast to 2013.

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Among B2B marketers who formally measure ROI, 64% say online has given them a better view of return on investment (ROI). Only 32% who don't formally measure ROI say the same.

B2B Marketers' Strategic Mindset

B2B marketing is driven by three major strategic goals, according to the study: brand awareness, lead generation, and customer retention. On average, marketers spend 38% of their total budgets on brand awareness, 34% on lead generation, and 28% on customer retention. By contrast, 28% of online budgets are dedicated to awareness with the difference allocated between lead generation and customer retention.

When measuring the channels that support those three strategic goals, B2B marketers who measure ROI are more likely to say their efforts are effective. For example, 49% of marketers who formally track lead generation ROI rate the effectiveness of their lead generation channel as good, compared with 35% of marketers who don't formally track lead generation ROI.

But measuring financial ROI is often more difficult for channels farther away from the point of sale. For example, B2B marketers who measure the ROI of brand awareness find that channel just slightly more effective than those who don't measure it, 50% and 48%, respectively.

Other key B2B forecast-related findings issued by AMR:

  • US online B2B ad spending is forecast to grow at a compound annual rate (CAGR) of 12% from 2009 to 2013, reaching 14% growth in 2012 and 2013.
  • Online B2B growth will be driven by recovering marketing budgets and structural shifts in budget allocations. Following the 2009 declines, online budgets are expected to recover at a 4% CAGR through 2013.
  • B2B ad spending on social media and lead generation is forecast to increase by double digits through 2013, at annualized rates of 21% and 17%, respectively.
  • Magazines will lose market share and decline at a 5% CAGR through the period.
  • Online is expected to account for 12% of the B2B marketing mix by 2013.
  • Two-thirds of B2B marketers say online must be complemented by traditional marketing activities.

About the data: Findings are based on in-depth interviews with marketers and media owners, and the analysis of proprietary survey data from over 1,000 B2B marketers in the second quarter of 2010, conducted by strategy consulting firm AMR International.

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